Photographic Writing Prompts for the Byzantine Empire, Ottoman Empire & Turkey

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The ESL Nexus
Grade Levels
6th - 8th
Formats Included
  • PDF
  • Google Apps™
63 PDF pages & 27 Google Slides
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These 25 writing prompts can be used when teaching about the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires in a world history class or about the Near or Middle East in a world geography class or for doing quick writes or longer writing tasks in an English class. All the writing prompts are based on photographs that I took in Turkey and you can see a list of all the individual photographs in the Preview. The photo writing prompts are available in print and digital versions.

What educators who have used this resource say about it:

♥ "Helpful and different." -- Michelle L.

♥ "Cool concept." -- Maria Z.

The writing prompts include:

* Compare and contrast writing

* Opinion writing

* Persuasive writing

* Explanatory and descriptive writing

* Creative (narrative) writing

* Using sensory details

* Interpreting proverbs

* Drawing inferences and conclusions

Each writing prompt includes background information about the image depicted, so students also learn about the history, people, culture, and geography of this region. Several photographs also show scenes from Greek and Roman archeological sites in Turkey.

With 25 writing prompts, you can use one per day for 5 weeks. You can give each student their own photograph to work on individually. You can display a photo and have the whole class respond to the same prompt. You can have students work together in pairs or small groups on different prompts. You can pick and choose photos by type of writing task or by the topic/theme of the photograph. They can also be used in literacy centers. There are many ways to use these photographic writing prompts! You can even use them as discussion starters and additional ideas for using the writing prompts are included in the product, too.

Maps of the Byzantine Empire, the Ottoman Empire and modern-day Turkey are included, along with some quick facts about each, which you can use for reference or to introduce these photographic writing prompts to your class. A rubric for assessing students' writing is provided for your convenience. Pages listing the ELA Common Core standards that are addressed and sample WIDA Model Performance Indicators (MPIs) are included as well. Background information is provided in the Notes to the Teacher section.

There is 1 photograph per page for 24 of the photos. The photos on 23 of those pages are sized approximately 4" x 6" inches and take up about half the page, which means the details are easily seen. The other photo has a vertical orientation and has different measurements but still takes up about half the page. (You can see this photo on the cover of the product and in the middle thumbnail.) One page has 3 photos that are thematically connected so they are smaller in size but about half the page is still available for writing a response to the prompt.

Each photograph and writing prompt is offered in 2 styles:

* On an unlined page

* On a page with lines

An extra lined page is included for students who need more space for their responses.

The images can be printed in black-and-white but printing in color is optimal. You can also trim the pages so just the photos and prompts are visible. You can laminate them so the photos and prompts can be used more than once, with students writing their responses on separate pieces of paper.

You can use this resource remotely in 2 ways:

a) When teaching synchronously or asynchronously online, use the Google Drive version.

b) For students to do on their own: Photocopy the page with maps and the pages with the writing prompts you want students to use and send the material home. Alternatively, if students have printers, email the pages to them and tell them to print the work out themselves. Tell students what to do and have them email/send you their work when they’ve completed it. Use the included rubric to correct students’ work.

I greatly enjoyed my visit to Turkey and with these photographic writing prompts, your students will enjoy virtually visiting Turkey, too!


What you get in this product:

In the PDF File:

★ A table of contents for easy reference (1 page)

Notes to the Teacher background information (2 pages)

★ A list of ELA Common Core Standards this resource helps address (1 page)

★ 3 sample WIDA Model Performance Indicators (1 page)

★ Lists of the types of writing tasks, organized by photograph, by genre, and by topic/theme (2 pages)

★ A page with maps and quick facts about the Byzantine Empire, Ottoman Empire, and Turkey (1 page)

★ A rubric for assessing students' writing (1 page)

★ A lined page for students who need more space for writing their responses (1 page)

★ 25 photographs with writing prompts, on unlined pages (25 pages)

★ 25 photographs with writing prompts, on lined pages (25 pages)

In the Google Drive Materials:

★ Cover page (1 slide)

★ Maps of the Byzantine & Ottoman Empires and Turkey (1 slide)

★ 25 photographs with writing prompts (25 slides)


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Thank you and happy teaching!

Common Core Standards © Copyright 2010. National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and Council of Chief State School Officers. All rights reserved. Any claims of correlation or alignment to the CCSS Standards are solely those of The ESL Nexus and have not been evaluated or endorsed by the NGA. The ESL Nexus is the sole creator of this product and does not claim endorsement or association with the creators of the CCSS standards.

Any claims of correlation or alignment to the WIDA ELD standards are solely those of The ESL Nexus and have not been evaluated or endorsed by the WIDA Consortium. The ESL Nexus is the sole creator of this product and does not claim endorsement or association with the creators of the WIDA standards.

© 2015 Google Inc. All rights reserved. Google Drive is a trademark of Google Inc. The ESL Nexus is the sole creator of this product and does not claim endorsement or association with Google, Inc.


Total Pages
63 PDF pages & 27 Google Slides
Answer Key
Rubric only
Teaching Duration
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.
Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.


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